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For biotech’s scientific mercenaries, business is booming.

Contract research organizations, which help with pre-clinical discovery and drug development for major pharmaceutical and biotech companies, have seen an uptick in business as smaller biotech firms — which don’t always have the same financial resources as bigger companies — do more and more drug development. CROs give them a way to do basic science without all the costs associated of directly hiring a full team, according to Jim Foster, the chief executive officer of one of the industry’s largest CROs, Charles River Laboratories.

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